Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

North Inishowen Coast SAC

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Date site proposed as SCI:1999-06
Date site confirmed as SCI: No data
Date site designated as SAC: No data
National legal reference of SAC designation: No data


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km]:


2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE01Border, Midland and Western

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
1140  info      988.311  0.00 
1220  info      3.4265  0.00 
1230  info      848.29  0.00 
2130  info      496.058  0.00 
21A0  info  X     117.94  0.00 
4030  info      848.29  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA200Alca torda    1000  1000     
BA050Anas penelope    169  169     
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    158  158     
BA046Branta bernicla    338  338     
BA045Branta leucopsis    673  673     
BA149Calidris alpina    237  237     
BA137Charadrius hiaticula       
BA137Charadrius hiaticula    63  63     
BA103Falco peregrinus    10  12     
BA009Fulmarus glacialis    150  150     
BA153Gallinago gallinago       
BA130Haematopus ostralegus    171  171     
BA130Haematopus ostralegus       
BA182Larus canus    50  50     
M1355Lutra lutra           
BA070Mergus merganser    12  12     
BA160Numenius arquata    207  207     
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    270  270     
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax    12  12     
BA188Rissa tridactyla    500     
BA048Tadorna tadorna    25  25     
BA164Tringa nebularia       
BA162Tringa totanus    46  46     
BA199Uria aalge    1000  1000     
BA142Vanellus vanellus    15  15     
BA142Vanellus vanellus    313  313     
I1014Vertigo angustior           
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Cepphus grylle    80  80               
Crambe maritima                     
Lagopus lagopus                     
Larus argentatus      1000               
Larus marinus    50  50               
Ligusticum scoticum                     
Mertensia maritima                     
Phalacrocorax aristotelis    330  330               
Saxifraga oppositifolia                     
Silene acaulis                     
Somateria mollissima                     
Vicia lathyroides                     
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

This large site, located along the northern coast of Co. Donegal, is of value for the wide range of maritime and sub-maritime habitats present. The main habitats are sea-cliffs, beach (both shingle and sandy) and dry heath, with smaller areas of sand dune, machair, tidal mud flats, salt marsh and deciduous woodland. Cliff and outcropping rock is frequent throughout the site with quartzite being the predominant rock type, although small areas with schist and granite bedrock also occur. The coastline close to Malin Head provides some of the best examples of late-glacial marine strandlines in Ireland and thus is of great interest from a geomorphological perspective. The main landuse within the site is grazing, particularly by sheep, with amenity pressure high in the parts of the site with sand dune and machair.

4.2 Quality and importance

The most important habitats within the site are the priority Annex I habitats fixed dune and machair, which are of moderate quality. The large areas of other Annex 1 habitats, particularly vegetated sea cliff, shingle beach and intertidal sand and mud flats, are of good quality. The habitats support a large number of important and sometimes rare plant and animal species. The site contains a large proportion of the national population of the Red Data Book plant species Mertensia maritima and Ligusticum scoticum, while other nationally rare species such as Silene acaulis and Crambe maritima have been recorded in the past. Important populations of the Annex I Bird Directive species Branta leucopsis, Falco peregrinus and Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax occur. Several species of seabirds breed on the cliffs, while Trawbreaga Bay attracts moderate numbers of wintering waterfowl, including Branta bernicla hrota, in internationally important numbers. Lutra lutra occurs regularly within the site.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.5 Documentation

Bassett, J.A. & Curtis T.G.F. (1985). The nature and occurrence of sand-dune machair in Ireland. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 85B: 1-20. Berrow, S.D., Mackie, K.L., O. Sullivan, O., Shepperd, K.B., Mellon, C, Coveney, J.A. (1993). The second International Chough Survey in Ireland, 1992. Irish Birds 5: 1-10. Colhoun, K. (1998). I-WeBS Report 1996-97. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. Curtis, T.G.F. (1991a). A site inventory of the sandy coasts of Ireland. In Quigley, M.B. (ed.) A Guide to the Sand Dunes of Ireland. E.U.C.C. Dublin. Curtis, T.G.F. & McGough, H.N. (1988). The Irish Red Data Book: 1 Vascular Plants, Stationary Office, Dublin. Fay, P. (1996). The rare and protected flora of coastal areas in Counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal. Unpublished report to the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Hannon, C., Berrow, S.D., and Newton S.F. (1997). The status and distribution of breeding Sandwich Sterna sandvicensis, Roseate S. dougallii, Common S. hirundo, Arctic S. paradisaea and Little Terns S. albifrons in Ireland in 1995. Irish Birds 6: 1-22. Hart, H.C. (1898). Flora of County Donegal. Dublin. Lloyd, C. (1982). Inventory of seabird breeding colonies in Republic of Ireland, Unpublished report, Forestry and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Madden, B., Cooney, T., ODonoghue, A., Norriss, D.W. and Merne, O.J. (1998 in press). Breeding waders of machair systems in Ireland in 1996. Irish Birds 6. McConnell, B.J. and Long, C.B. (1997). Geology of North Donegal. A geological description to accompany the bedrock geology 1: 10,000 scale map series, sheet 1 and part of sheet 2, North Donegal. Geological Survey of Ireland, Dublin. Merne, O.J. (1989). Important bird areas in the Republic of Ireland. In: Grimmett, R.F.A. and Jones, T.A. (eds) Important Bird Areas in Europe. ICBP Technical Publication No. 9. Cambridge. Merne, O.J. and Walsh, A. (1994). Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1993 and 1994. Irish Birds 5: 151-156. Perry, K.W. (1975). The Birds of the Inishowen Peninsula. Privately published, Craigavon. Praeger, R.L (1934). The Botanist in Ireland. Hodges Figgis, Dublin. Sheppard, R. (1993). Irelands Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin. Stephens, N. and Synge, F.M. (1965). Late Pleistocene shore lines and drift lines in northern Donegal. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy Section B: [3]. Walsh, A. and Merne, O.J. (1988). Barnacle Geese in Ireland, spring 1988. Irish Birds 3: 539-550. Whilde, A. (1985). The All Ireland Tern Survey 1984. Unpublished report for the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Dublin. Young, R. (1973). Report on Areas of Ecological and Geological Interest in County Donegal. An Foras Forbartha, Dublin.


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level:

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites:

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
Trawbreaga Bay+13.00
IE05Trawbreaga Bay Wildfowl Sanctuary+13.00

Designated at international level:

Type Site name Type Cover [%]
Other Trawbreaga Bay+13.00
Trawbreaga Bay Wildfowl Sanctuary+13.00


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6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation



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